FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — Late summer sunsets and activities mean parents and kids tend to stay up later than a typical school night. Meaning as the school year approaches, so does the challenge of getting kids back into a sleep routine.
“Parents get a little bit loose with their rules during the summertime compared to the school year,” said Parkview Health Sleep Medicine Physician, Aaron Roberts, “It’s not just a switch that you can turn on when school starts, so you want to try to get a little bit prepared before that happens.”
A couple of weeks leading up to the start of the school year is the time where you want to start transitioning back into a sleep routine. It also is a good time to begin practicing better sleep hygiene by eliminating electronic devices before bed, which are the source of many sleep issues with students.
“Nowadays with the technology, the cell phones, the social media, whenever you are on a device exposing yourself to light, that kind of makes it harder to sleep naturally,” explained Roberts, “So you want to try to avoid electronic devices about 2 hours before you plan on going to bed.”
When these devices keep students from getting sleep naturally it can lead to sleep deprivation in kids and teens. The symptoms of which are different from the fatigue adults experience but it could still impact performance in school.
“Really when you are a kid you have kind of the opposite effect. When you are sleep deprived, you have hyperactivity, inattention, inability to focus. Usually, kids with ADHD should be evaluated to see if they have any sleep disorders or sleep problems because that has been strongly linked to ADHD or undiagnosed ADHD,” said Roberts.
To help with getting back into a routine while the sun is still setting late in the evening, Roberts recommends black-out curtains, in addition to a cool room with temperatures in the 60s or 70s, while also not allowing pets in your bed. In the end, the bedtime routine can be emulated by the parents to make it easier.
“Adults kind of lead by example, so if you take your phone to bed, and you are watching TV in bed and drinking pop and coffee before you go to bed,” added Roberts, “That’s not really a good example for the children, really practice what you preach and make it more of a family affair.”
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